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Chapter 3

PSYCH 1X03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Puzzle Box, Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning

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Joe Kim

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Instrumental Conditioning
Non-associative forms of learning, allows you to respond more (sensitization) and
focus attention or respond less (habituation) and ignore stimuli
Associative form of learning = classical conditioning – anticipate biologically
important events No conscious decision-making that takes place
Instrumental conditioning – forming new voluntary behaviours that direct goal-
centered actions
Thorndike’s Law of Eect
-Cat In A Box
oHungry cat inside a “puzzle box” with a latched door, and food
available outside door
oDoor could be opened if cat performed a simple action
Ex. Pulling string, pressing lever
oPlaced back into box, observed how long it to master escape response
oObserved learning curve suggested a cats escape response is gained
in small increments
oNo evidence of insight into problem-solving
-Thorndike’s Law of E/ect
oAcross trials, frequency of irrelevant behaviours gradually
decreased -> “Stamped out”
oTendency to perform correct response increased -> “Stamped in”
oLaw of Eect- response followed by a satisfying eect is
strengthened, likely to occur in the same situation. Response followed
by an unsatisfying eect is weakened, less likely to occur in the
same situation.
oHow strong responses are stamped in or out is proportional to the
oPuzzle box presented set of cues, but no stimuli directly elicited
string pulling as an involuntary response
Acted as an occasion setter for many voluntary responses
Only one set as correct – satisfying e/ect of food
(Increase response when placed back into the box)
oNo need to attribute intellectual sophistication to the cat
-Skinner And Operant Behaviour
oSubjects behaviour directly causes satisfying or unsatisfying
oOperant- as voluntary actions
on environment to produce
change, leading to a consequence
oInstrumental conditioning =
Operant conditioning
Implied no assumptions about judgments being made in
individual responding
Objective descriptor of behaviour
Increases probability of response being emitted
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oPrimary reinforcer & Secondary reinforcers
Primary – intrinsic value (access to food, water, mate)
Secondary – only reinforced with previous learning (associated
with other primary reinforcers)
Ex. Money little intrinsic value itself, but can buy natural
oOperant chamber – special chamber with a mechanism (lever) an
animal could respond to produce a reinforcer (food pellet)
oAdvantages over Thorndike’s puzzle box
Shorter trials, with no constraints on responding
After a response and e/ect, animal remains in the box free to
respond again
Response rate automatically recorded with a cumulative
Major Phenomena of Instrumental Conditioning
-Classical and instrumental conditioning have many distinctions and
oex. Instrumental – more pairings between operant and its
consequence, the stronger the acquired learning
operant no longer paired with consequence – extinction
does not involve unlearning response, similar to classical
-Generalization and Discrimination
oDiscriminative stimuli – signal when a given response-reinforcer
relationship is valid (ex. Environmental cues)
Key light red = no e/ect, key light green = delivery of small
quantity of food
Green light = positive discriminative stimulus (S+)
Red light = negative discriminative stimulus (S-)
oDierences between CS+, CS-, S+, S-
CS + tells you what will happen
S+ tells you what could happen if you produce the appropriate
CS- tells you what will not happen
S- tells you a response-reinforcer is not currently valid
oGeneralization and Discrimination
Mechanics of both instrumental and classical function similarly
Ex. Variety of coloured lights, pecking responses strongest
in presence of green light and lights of similar
wavelength, weaker as it becomes gradually di/erent
from S+
Section 7: Reinforcers, Reinforcement, and Punishment
- Positive reinforcement – arrival of stimulus following a response (Reward
oRat presses lever, gets food – money in vending machine, candy bar
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